Sunday, July 29, 2007

Armageddon 2

With the growing sentiments in Washington among lawmakers turning away from our continued presence in Iraq building momentum, it appears that the military strategists have been working on exit strategies. It is especially important to consider options as the President continues to play the Armageddon card to use fear tactics to coerce people to continue to support his Iraq policies. Because of my skepticism of this administration, I cannot accept at face value any predictions that they make, no matter how sincere they may appear on the surface.

So what do our brilliant military minds with the help of millions of tax payer dollars predict the outcome of our withdrawal will be? As usual that depends on who you talk to, some tend to side with the end of the world crowd, but many more tend to believe that while it will be bad, it will not be the apocalyptic scenario being bandied around the Beltway.

That was the conclusion reached in recent "war games" exercises conducted for the U.S. military by retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson. "I honestly don't think it will be apocalyptic," said Anderson, who has served in Iraq and now works for a major defense contractor. But "it will be ugly."

However, just as few envisioned the long Iraq war, now in its fifth year, or the many setbacks along the way, there are no firm conclusions regarding the consequences of a reduction in U.S. troops. A senior administration official closely involved in Iraq policy imagines a vast internecine slaughter as Iraq descends into chaos but cautions that it is impossible to know the outcome. "We've got to be very modest about our predictive capabilities," the official said.[1]

The consensus is that Iraq will be divided into the three ethnic groups that now comprise Iraq. We will have the Kurds in the north, the Sunnis in the west, and the Shia in the center and south. I listen to these predictions with a grain of salt, remember these are the same guys who predicted that we would be welcomed with garland wreaths, that the insurgency was dead, and that the mission was accomplished.

I have a different take on the outcome of our withdrawal. Now of course for all of us this is conjecture, but for what it’s worth here is my two cents. I think that the government is going to collapse shortly after our departure. This government has shown time and again that it is either incapable or unwilling to protect, govern, or enlist the support of the people. More and more Iraqis believe that this government in particular and politics in general have nothing to do with their day to day survival. An infant government cannot rule without the support of the people. So, the government collapses, then what?

I believe that after some sectarian violence and infighting, Mr. Moktada al-Sadr, the Shite cleric will emerge as the de facto leader of Iraq. Mr. Sadr has already been aligning himself to become the populist leader that the Iraqi people can rally behind. Mr. Sadr has been able to gain traction being on both sides, he appears as an outsider, but uses politics to advance his agenda, he appears as a peaceful man, yet his Sadr Brigade has been carrying out attacks against Sunnis. He already has a reputation for standing up against the Americans and he does not have a clear alliance with Iran.

BAGHDAD, July 18 — After months of lying low, the anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr has re-emerged with a shrewd strategy that reaches out to Iraqis on the street while distancing himself from the increasingly unpopular government.

Mr. Sadr and his political allies have largely disengaged from government, contributing to the political paralysis noted in a White House report last week. That outsider status has enhanced Mr. Sadr’s appeal to Iraqis, who consider politics less and less relevant to their daily lives.

Mr. Sadr has been working tirelessly to build support at the grass-roots level, opening storefront offices across Baghdad and southern Iraq that dispense services that are not being provided by the government. In this he seems to be following the model established by Hezbollah, the radical Lebanese Shiite group, as well as Hamas in Gaza, with entwined social and military wings that serve as a parallel government.[2]

If I were working on the plan after withdrawal, I would be trying to rehabilitate the relationship with Mr. Sadr. He will be one of the main, if not the main player after our withdrawal. Of course our clowns in Washington will find a way to let another opportunity slip away. Once again they will allow short-sightedness and our relationship to Israel to ruin any chance we could have to continue to exert some level of influence in Iraq. Mark my words when this thing goes bad, it will deteriorate quickly. Once we withdrawal there will be a lot of people jockeying for position. My fear is that due to our inaction or maybe by our design we will end up with another Saddam. Another line in the dictator/strongman series that Washington and the Pentagon love to use for just such an emergency. There are many twists and turns waiting to be played out in this plot, but my money is on Mr. Sadr and short of his assassination I think he will be king. It’s good to be king!



[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/16/AR2007071601680_2.html?hpid=topnews

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/19/world/middleeast/19sadr.html

1 comment:

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